Solitude, scenery, and seafood: The benefits and downsides of Camino del Norte

Isolated stretch of Camino del Norte trail with a view of the North Atlantic

 

There are numerous Camino routes throughout Europe, including Camino Francés, the most popular walk and the one featured in a favorite movie of ours, The Way.  So why, then, did we choose to walk one of the lesser known routes, Camino del Norte?

We had a particular vision for what we wanted in our Camino experience, and Dale did some serious homework to find the trail that most matched that vision:

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Seward, Alaska: My near-miss bear encounter

Brown bear, Katmai National Park, September 2017
“Cheri!  Get inside!”

I was at work, walking from one building to the next, when I heard Dave, Facilities Manager, clapping his hands and yelling at me from across the parking lot.  How weird, I thought.

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Camino del Norte guides, maps, and other resources

 

I experienced a great deal of anxiety while walking the Camino, and much of it was centered around getting lost.  A part of me feared that we would disappear into the wilderness of northern Spain, licking the peanut dust off our empty snack bags to survive.

Never mind that Camino del Norte is not that wild; I was neurotic about having the right resources during our journey.

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It began with a movie: Why we walked Camino del Norte

 

A signpost from Day One, pointing us in the right direction
The Way

In the fall of 2015, Dale and I hiked 425 miles of Camino del Norte, the northern-most branch of Camino de Santiago, a historic pilgrimage with starting points and routes all over Europe.   Continue reading “It began with a movie: Why we walked Camino del Norte”

Tonsina Point, Seward, Alaska: A short hike to a beautiful beach

Pausing to meditate on Tonsina Creek

This past weekend we shook off the inertia of winter, pulled out the backpacks, and went on a couple of hikes.

Sunday’s trek, to Tonsina Point on Resurrection Bay, was short, not particularly strenuous, and exceptionally beautiful.

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Seward, Alaska: Lost Lake Trail in the Winter

Admiring the view of Resurrection Bay and the town of Seward from Lost Lake Trail

With the combined effects of cold weather, new jobs, the snow, and the holidays, we basically spent the past month feeling like this:

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Denali National Park: Hiking the colorful Alaskan tundra

Tips for hiking in Denali National Park

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The view at the end of the Alpine Trail

This is one in a series of articles about our trip to Denali National Park.


We expected Denali’s alpine landscape to be bleak and monochromatic.  After all, tundra is supposed to be a vast, perpetual wasteland, right?

Wrong.

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What animals can you see in Denali National Park?

Denali wildlife, small and large: From bear burritos to bull moose in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park shuttle bus
Denali shuttle bus, dust-covered from traveling the unpaved road all day

This is one in a series of articles about our trip to Denali National Park.


Riding on the Denali National Park shuttle in search of wildlife was usually an all-day affair.  We had plenty of time to meditate on the scenery and get to know our neighbors as the bus lurched along at 10 miles an hour.

Our contemplations, however, were often interrupted by urgent, single-syllable cries of “Moose!” or “Stop!” that brought the bus to a jolting halt.

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Denali, the “Great One”: Getting a glimpse of our most majestic mountain

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

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This is one in a series of articles about our trip to Denali National Park.



You’d think it would be easy to spot Denali, North America’s tallest peak.  It is, after all, over 20,000 feet tall.  In reality, the mountain formerly known as Mount McKinley is notoriously elusive.  It makes its own, constantly changing weather and is usually cloud-covered, so the odds of seeing it are fairly low.  In a single day, there’s about a 33% chance of seeing the mountain in its entirety, and odds aren’t that much better that you’ll even get a glimpse of it.

That’s why Dale and I spent ten nights camping in Denali National Park and Preserve, a long time to spend in a single campground.

Did our time investment pay off?  Yes, it did.

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“Enjoy being smelly!” My niece asks questions about the camping life

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Lacey and I, in Madrid last year
“I read the blog post yesterday; loved it!   I have two very important questions related to that…”

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